Unity and harmony – the choice of humanity

May 31. Kazpravda

By Vladimir Kuryatov

Unity and harmony - the choice of humanityYesterday Astana was a global dialogue venue another time: the Peace and Harmony Palace was hosting the opening of the IV Congress of world and traditional religions. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who authored the idea of its convocation in Kazakhstan, addressed it.

Strengthening the dialogue of religions

85 delegations from 40 countries have arrived in Astana for the forum, representing various denominations. Among the honored guests of the congress are: the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, secretary general of the World Islamic League Sheikh Abdullah bin Abdul Muhsin Al-Turki, head of the Holy See delegation Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, secretary general of World Assembly for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thoughts Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Taskhiri, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger, well-known politicians and public figures.

The forum started with a session of religious leaders’ Council. Addressing it, the President of Kazakhstan quoted the Kazakh thinker Abai saying “there is nothing reprehensible in well-intentioned doings,” and the goals of the recently formed Council are noble and relevant too, given the spiritual leaders’ calls for peacemaking addressed to the hundreds of millions.

– The main objective of our Council is to strengthen the dialogue of religions, underlying which is commitment of all the creeds to the fundamentals of humanity – kindness, love, justice, peace and harmony, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev. It consists of representatives of leading world religions – Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism. In fact, this is the first multi-format religious interaction tool.

– I hope our Council will be a model of respect and tolerance, an effective tool of cooperation between religions, -said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Then, addressing the plenary meeting Nursultan Nazarbayev thanked the UN, UNESCO, ISESCO, the heads of other international organizations, famous politicians and experts for their attention to the Congress.

– I am convinced the IV Congress will go down in history as an important part of the global dialogue leading to a just world order for humanity in the twenty-first century.

Moral values and pseudo-freedom

– Characteristically, in the nine years of its record, the world religious congress has been held as a rule at the peak of complex global processes. The first forum, according to the head of state, assembled in response to the threat of a clash of religions and using religion as a guise for sinister purposes of international terrorism and extremism. Previous III Congress was convened in the midst of the most powerful global financial crisis. This very forum is going on at a turning point: global transformation in the world order. Humanity is, in fact, going through a systemic crisis. The global recession, the world is on the verge of, is fraught with massive social upheavals.

Among more than a billion unemployed in the world today half are young people, with a good education including. With the loss of decent career opportunities and with reduced social protection, radicalization and criminalization of youth is growing.

– Alongside with that, crisis of moral values is aggravating. In many societies pseudo-freedom and perverted views on the nature of human relationships are being implanted. Motivation for honest work is replaced by pursuit for quick profit by any means, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Another evidence of moral and ethical crisis in the world, he pointed out is aggressively tarnishing the clergy, attempts to push religion to the margins of social processes, desecration of holy shrines in many countries, burning of the holy books, mosques, cathedrals, synagogues and other places of worship, beatings and killings of worshipers.

– Why should such things be happening? Religion is a most durable protective barrier to immorality and avarice, and at many times it was even a sole guardian of the folk wisdom, culture and traditions. Kazakh society, that lived under a faithless Soviet regime, especially during the Stalinist persecution, knows it from own experience.

The congress participants can see it too after visiting the memorial to political repression victims, built at the site of the former prison camp “ALJIR”, – part of the notorious GULAG – where wives of “traitors” were imprisoned.

– In those years in the former Soviet Union millions of innocent people were killed, including tens of thousands of clerics of Islam, Christianity and other faiths. It was a sorrowful price the religions paid for endurance and devotion to the Faith, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev. In his view, the immoral actions committed of late against religions are akin to the evils of 20-30s, when the churches were smashed down.

– We strongly condemn such outrages, and express our support to all religious leaders, in their opposition to a surge of militant ungodliness, – said N.Nazarbayev.

In G-Global format

Mankind, the President went on, is now at crossroads. The discoveries brought to us by Higher Reason, are not always used for good ends. The highest information technology and the latest communications, designed to unite people, are often used to disunite them, putting up new barriers within societies and between nations. Network resources, in place of sharing knowledge, are often used to disseminate vice, lies, vile human instincts, sow hatred and strife, undermining the moral and ethical ties of any society – family, tradition, upbringing of children, succession of generations, and many others. That’s a bitter reality.

– In turn, I want to express my point of view, basing on my political experience. It is clear that in a globalizing world, to steer economy out of the recessionary stupor is possible only through pooled efforts of the entire community of nations. This is admitted by all. Therefore a week ago at the Astana Economic Forum, I proposed to develop and implement an effective model of international relations – “G-GLOBAL – THE GREAT WORLD”- in order to create a thriving global economy, safely protected against the crisis, with an efficient global currency, fair trade and cooperation system. It’s a world where high technologies would serve all the people’s welfare, a world of justice and trust between peoples and nations, with a strong regional and global security, a tolerant community of nations, with our planet, forever spared of nuclear annihilation threat, free of mass destruction weapons.

– I believe that humanity has sufficient knowledge and experience to create a model based on five fundamental principles, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev, listing the key development trends.

First- evolutionary development of the socio-political systems, scrapping revolution as a form of political development. In the twenty-first century it is revolution, not religion, that became opium to people.

Secondly- justice, equality and consensus in the relationship between all the states.

Third- global transparency, rejecting any “double standards” and “backstage” in international relations.

Fourth- constructive multi-polarity as a system of geopolitical balances.

Fifth- global tolerance and trust as a fundamental principle of intercultural, interreligious and inter-state cooperation in the twenty-first century.

The President believes that multiculturalism, ethnic and religious diversity are not a challenge, but a huge advantage to society. This is a key factor in the development and growth of innovation-based economy. We can see that over the past 30 years, it is the culturally diverse nations that made the biggest progress.

– Modern world needs to emulate this experience. The world religions Congress could be a suitable dialogue venue on construction of ideological and spiritual foundations of a just world order in the twenty-first century, – he said.

– The G-Global opens up new opportunities for global understanding and tolerance. In this regard Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed, with the blessing of the Congress participants, to create an online resource for development of global tolerance and trust.

It could be part of the overall G-Global electronic portal and provide the framework for interactive meetings of the Council of Religious Leaders and the Secretariat of the Congress, conducting of on-line forum for a wide range of Internet users.

Basic development factor

The initiative elicited a wide response. Kazakhstan, as repeatedly emphasized, has a unique experience in this area. An effective model of peace and harmony is a main factor in our country’s progress.

Nursultan Nazarbayev reminded that independent Kazakhstan is a country where 140 ethnicities live peace and harmony and is in the troika of most dynamically developing economies in the first decade of XXI century. It has developed own model of inter-ethnic harmony. A Kazakhstani of any ethnicity or religious faith is an equal citizen in a unified civil community.

– We build conditions for everyone to worship freely, to learn and speak own language, develop folk culture and traditions, – said the President.

The high values professed by every religion – Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestant faith, Judaism, Buddhism and others – have always been supported in Kazakhstan. Therefore, spiritual renaissance has been ongoing for over 20 years in our society, with new mosques and cathedrals are being built. On the initiative of Kazakhstan 2010 was made the International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures, and the years 2013-2022 -the International Decade of Rapprochement of Cultures, declared by UNESCO.

Kazakhstan was chairing in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at a difficult time to the Ummah, and proponed a number of initiatives for developing cooperation between Muslim nations in addressing pressing socio-economic and humanitarian problems.

Controversial processes are going on in the Muslim world with both dynamic economies and countries with serious socio-political challenges. And we must be sensitive to what is happening in this large and diverse part of the world. After all, Islam is an impressive and growing cultural and material heritage of mankind. Therefore any kind of obstruction to it is short-sighted and even dangerous.

– Take Kazakhstan, for instance. It is a country with a majority Muslim population.

The Islamic religion is a main spiritual pillar to our people. We have developed a unique formula of national unity and harmony of all Kazakhstanis, regardless of their religious and ethno-cultural background. This Congresses is a gift of Kazakhstan to the world – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

He suggested adopting a special appeal of the Religious Leaders Council next year -10th on the Congress record – reconfirming thereby the importance and relevance of the dialogue, and the peacekeeping mission of religious and spiritual leaders.

– Holding of the Astana Congress of World and Traditional Religions says that the thesis of irreconcilable differences and disagreements between religions is nothing but a phantom.